From 0 to 1,000,000 users: The Journey and Statistics of Buffer

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Wow! We couldn’t believe it. With all of you on board, we’ve hit the milestone we didn’t even dream about when starting Buffer: 1,000,000 people have signed up for Buffer as of today.

We thought, what an incredible opportunity to reflect on the journey up until this point.

To breakdown some of the core numbers about Buffer, take a look at the infographic below:

1m-users

 

Along the way to reach 1m users a lot has happened for us. Here is a brief review of the last 2.5 years:

The journey to the 1 million user mark

This of course the perfect time we thought for some nostalgia about how Buffer started and where it all began. So without further ado, here are the key happenings along our Buffer journey:

A twinkle of an idea in Joel’s bedroom, Oct 2010

The origin of Buffer can be traced back to a (probably) rainy night in Birmingham, UK, somewhere in October 2010.  Joel, after having dabbled with a few social media tools to help him schedule his Tweets, was fed up with what was available and wanted to build something better and easier to use. “What if scheduling a Tweet, could be as easy as sending it now?” must have been one of the key questions he mulled over.

And so, without writing any code at first, Joel got to work and see whether others would find Buffer useful too. It then took him 7 weeks to validate and build the first version of Buffer.

Launch of Buffer, 30th of November 2010

On exactly the 30th of November the first version of Buffer was launched in the most lean and minimal way possible. The only network you were able to use was Twitter, without any analytics, team collaboration or other helpful features you can use today.

This is what the landing page looked like when Joel launched it:

Buffer-627x350

 

 

The first paying customer 4 days after launch, December 2010

Being fully focused on building something people want, the ultimate way to test whether Buffer was useful for anyone besides Joel himself was to see if people would pay for it. And they wanted to! Joel made his first $5 on the internet when the first person started to pay for Buffer 4 days after launch in December.

In the first few weeks, somewhere around 100 people signed up for Buffer, with a handful people paying. That was great validation for Joel to keep going. Good thing he did!

 

Quitting day jobs to go full-time with Buffer, May 2011

A little further into the year, whilst working on Buffer on evening and weekend, it was finally time to make the big jump. After mulling over when to finally go all in, May was the months to go all in. Shortly after hitting ramen profitability, at $1000/mo, Joel and I made the call to stop the mills on anything else we were doing (working full time and going to College) and put all our eggs into the Buffer basket.

 

Moving Buffer to San Francisco, July 2011

Shortly after quitting day jobs, Buffer was ramping up nicely, hitting 20,000 users in July 2011. Good enough, we thought, to pack our bags and make the move from the UK over to San Francisco.

This was the time, when Buffer finally became a real and incorporated company. Whilst we were quickly running out of money, after we realised that San Francisco is way more expensive than Birmingham in the UK, with lots of luck, we managed to get into the San Francisco based incubator AngelPad, which literally saved Buffer at that point.

angelpad

Raising seed round ($450k), Dec 2011

Fresh out of AngelPad, it was time for Buffer to secure some funding to turn what was a fun project and product to work on at the time into a real company, with real employees and a plan. It took us 150 meetings with different investors, of which 88% turned us down and said no. Fortunately, the other 12%, 18 of these awesome guys, said yes and invested into Buffer.

In total, we raised $450,000 to help build out Buffer. By that time, Buffer was quickly becoming a more complete social media tool. You were able to post to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, with Google+ and other networks already on the horizon.

Raising a seed round was definitely one of the toughest things for us, especially for the stage we were at. Here is the pitch deck that we’ve used to explain Buffer’s vision and help get investors on board:

 

Visa troubles – leaving San Francisco for Hong Kong, January 2012

Then, just as we closed the last investor to put money into Buffer, the Buffer plane experienced turbulence. Securing a Visa in the US isn’t such a piece of cake we found out quickly and we didn’t manage to secure one. This meant, we had to leave the US again.

Fortunately, that gave us the chance to pick anywhere in the world we wanted to go. Looking at Google Maps (literally!) we picked Hong Kong to move all of Buffer over there.

 

Visa troubles in Hong Kong – Moving onwards to Tel Aviv, August 2012

That fun in Hong Kong, didn’t last for long either, as it turns out, getting a long-term Visa is also a difficult thing to do. So, on we went again to find our next destination: The startup nation Israel, more precisely Tel Aviv.

There, Buffer grew further to  7 people on the team, whilst we enjoyed some time at the beach and other stunning places in Israel:

tel aviv

 

The Buffer team now 10 people, May 2013

Whilst for a few people on the Buffer team, we finally resolved our Visa issues and were able to move back to the US (yay!), we decided that Buffer will be a distributed team.

So we started hiring people from all over the world, growing the Buffer team to 10 people, including awesome folks from the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and the US.

From then onwards, after the core team was in place, it was crunch time for the product. We introduced many brand new features, including Google+ scheduling support, custom scheduling and more.

 

First retreat with the team in Lake Tahoe, August, 2013

Being a distributed team, one of the most important things is of course to get face time in still. That’s when we decided to have retreats every 4 months and bring the whole team to one awesome destination in the world.

For this year, it was San Francisco, with a bit of time in Lake Tahoe. Here is the whole Buffer team on a boat trip on Lake Tahoe:

buffer retreat

One million users reached, September 2013

And finally, we’ve come full circle, to hitting 1m users in September 2013. What a journey it was so far!

Thanks to all of you for being on board from the bottom of our hearts! We’d love to hear how your Buffer experience has been, please tell us in the comments below!

 

  • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

    Thanks so much for persevering! I love Buffer, and use it every day. Plus, I have enjoyed your blogs.

  • http://semzoom.com/ Baadier Sydow

    Congrats! Thanks for making a product that fits seamlessly into my digital lifestyle. We absolutely love it!

  • Victor Schueller

    Congrats! Best wishes to you all moving forward. I love Buffer!

  • Jane Steen

    I’m impressed by how ready you guys were to change countries in your pursuit of success. Buffer is a truly global business!

  • http://www.wandsandworlds.com/blog1 SheilaRuth

    Congratulations! I love Buffer & it’s one of the most useful social media tools I’ve tried. “What if scheduling a Tweet, could be as easy as sending it now?” – that’s exactly what makes Buffer so great!

  • Adam Pennacchio

    Congrats to you and your team on reaching such a huge milestone Leo! Love the transparency and culture you guys are building. I think it’s a great example for other aspiring startups. Would love a follow up post on how you plan to get your next 2 million customers :) Keep on rocking.

  • Christopher Walker

    Congrats!

  • CowperTrooper

    Is that photo in israel from up mazada?! Used to go there the whole time when I lived in tel aviv. Congrats on reachign 1,000,000 users!

  • http://www.antavo.com/ Zsuzsa Szabo

    Congrats! I am following your story, and it’s such an impressive one!

  • saravanamv

    Well done Joel & Leo. I’ve been following your progress for the past 2 years, you guys have done everything right taking a concept and maturing it into a profitable business.

  • http://www.brightontheday.com/ Brighton Keller

    congrats guys!!! I’m so excited for you and your success!! You’ve got a great thing going and I know things will only get better from here!!! High five!

  • http://www.theorderexpert.com/ Rashelle

    Congratulations! love using Buffer and am so thankful you guys are around. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  • Ken Lawrence

    Congratulations on your milestone! It looks like one hell of a ride. Say hello and thanks to the whole team :-D

  • http://petercoff.in/ Peter Coffin

    Congratulations, I’ve loved Buffer from the start. I use it every day. Great work!

  • Armaral

    Great job, guys! keep it going on!

  • Kosio Angelov

    Congrats guys! Your journey is a true inspiration (and your service is awesome)!

  • Adrian Petrescu

    Congrats, guys :) So was the 1,000,000 in January 2013 on slide 6 just a projection at the time?

  • Pierre

    1M users and you still find the time to answer my emails when I have something to say.
    That’s just…

  • Image

    Wow…interesting read and inspiring too! Am sure with your passion and drive Buffer will definetely make the Social Media World – Buff!
    Lol…Keep up the great work guys!

  • Lamar Morgan

    Congratulations! One million users. You actually provide 24/7 customer support with only 10 employees around the world? That is truly remarkable to me.

  • tomatobaby

    Wahoo to Joel & the Buffer Team!

  • Tribbl, Inc.

    We at Tribble, Inc. would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your great achievement. Keep the good work going guys. Love your enthusiasm.

  • Hillery

    Incredibly inspiring product you guys. One of my very favorite and the most useful app I’ve ever had the experience to use. Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.the7thMatrix.com/ Roderick T Faulkner

    Buffer makes my life SO much easier. It also helps me make more effective use of my time. Congratulations to the entire team for reaching such a milestone. I’m sure more great things are to follow!

  • Jo Gifford

    Congrats guys I love your story, one of innovation, adventure and tenacity, good luck for the next stage! X

  • http://about.me/otrarove Otto Rodriguez

    Nice Work!

  • ibnt

    You guys (and Buffer) are awesome. Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.ianhardacresmb.co.uk Ian Hardacre

    Congratulations to the whole team, thanks for adding platforms makes all our tasks easier and best of all fun !

  • gregory smith

    When you work hard — good things happen. And yes, that goes for anyone… Glad to see that the Buffer team is finally realizing that! :)

  • http://www.askmilks.com Malcolm

    Way to go.

    The “Idea to paying customer in 7 weeks” blog post saved my life. Oh and Buffer is pretty nice too.

    Good things happen to good peopl, and you guys have got a good thing going.

    Here’s to the next million users!

    -Malcolm

  • http://www.homelosophy.com/ Homelosophy

    Congrats guys!

  • Gregory Wells

    Congratulations!

  • http://fiswebdesign.com/ Aaron Hemmelgarn

    Thanks for making such a great product that’s easy to use and manage. As a design and development team ourselves it was nice to see the effort put into the UX and design. Now we can schedule our next days posts the night before and because I’m online all day and find great stuff to post I can just hit Buffer and count on it going out to all of our networks at the most optimal time for our business and following.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Knowinger

    Awesome achievement! Keep the good work going!

  • http://www.organiclifeproducts.com/ Montina Portis

    Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing! Buffer is one of my favorite social media tools!

  • Darren O’Connor

    Love hearing a success story like this… Love the app too!! Good Job!!

  • Tammy

    Congratulations on reaching 1 million customers. The Eiffel Tower is a simple and great comparison. I am surprised that it was only since 2010 so well done. Sharing the story including the struggles faced showed how dedicated the team was so I am glad that it all went well. I am glad that the team still jumps out of bed because that means everyone is still living their passions. Great work!

  • Nicole

    Thanks, Buffer! I love you!

  • http://ThatGuyKC.com/ ThatGuyKC

    Way to go! Proud to be a power user and promote Buffer any chance I get. Great service, great team. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

    Congrats guys!

  • http://paulpapadimitriou.com/ Paul Papadimitriou

    Congratulations! Such a great background story.
    Happy to be a paying customer. Keep rocking.

  • http://www.markpack.org.uk/ Mark Pack

    Congratulations! You’ve built a great tool which I find hugely useful.

  • mabredl

    Leo gratulier euch! Ich bin schon lange ein Fan von euch! Hoffe Ihr knackt die zweite Mio. bald!

  • http://www.higherclick.com/ Gael Breton

    Respect guys :)

  • Noor Unnahar

    Congratulations guys . Your success is definite . I love using buffer :)

  • http://www.boldinternet.co.uk/ Adrian Bold

    Great story and many congratulations on your success. Long may it continue. :-)

  • Javier Mateos

    Congratulations and best of luck in the future!

  • http://www.benandme.com/ Marcy @ Ben and Me

    love love love buffer!

  • Charidimos Spou

    Simple and useful. How beautiful! Keep it this way guys!

  • Nathan Lee Jones

    Congrats team! Hands-down, Buffer is one of my favorite apps AND companies. Keep it up!

  • http://daveshrein.com Dave Shrein

    Congrats! Keep at it and continue to maintain what is working and innovate for the future!

  • Dave Cornett

    Congratulations, I’m a massive fan of buffer.. Keep up the good work.

  • http://candidman.blogspot.com Candidman

    Congratulations!

  • Bukola Stewart

    Congrats!

  • gubatron

    Way to go Buffer. We’re building something right up your alley that we hope will complement your offer for power users.

  • SeikCo

    Congratulations! Well-deserved, and much more to come, no doubt. You have a great balance of ethos, pathos, transparency, and an excellent product. Your company will undoubtedly continue to thrive. Thanks for building and maintaining such a great product.

  • http://SEOcmo.com/ Josepf J Haslam

    Congratulations! I’m a Paid Account (which by definition means I’m Awesome!) and I love Buffer! Keep up the great work! I’ve turned a couple of thousand people onto Buffer over the past 14 months or so!!!

  • erlend_sh

    Congrats, and thanks a bunch for an outstanding free service.

    It just bummed me out that there was no “Buffer” on that SlideShare ending screen. That would be the coolest way to end your pitch.

  • Kay

    Congrats to Joel for not giving up on his idea. I find Buffer very useful.

  • scrignac

    que des cons chez buffer ?crampers ?

  • Lush Fab Glam

    Buffer is a great tool for bloggers, thanks for inventing it!
    http://www.Lush-Fab-Glam.com

  • http://chuckreynolds.us/ Chuck Reynolds

    Grats guys… really cool post and infographic. Love Buffer and the team seems very cool. Grats
    - @ChuckReyolds

  • David Kiss

    Congratulations on hitting 1M users! Leo, you mentioned AngelPad saved Buffer at one point. I’m keen to hear your thoughts on bootstrapping and how far one can go building a startup on the side and not going full-time?

    • LeoWid

      Hi David, great to hear from you and thanks for the kind words!

      That’s a great question, I do believe that there are very few limitations to business, so you can become successful bootstrapping or with venture funding either way.

      In our case, we had decided we wanted to be in San Francisco, since we had very limited amounts of money (i.e. almost 0 :) ) getting investor money was very important for us at that point!

      • David Kiss

        Thanks for the quick response, Leo! That answered my question. Keep up the good work, guys!

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com/ Ricardo Bueno

    Just wanted to drop in and say congratulations you guys! Your growth is impressive and well deserved! And I know you guys will continue to crush it moving forward!

  • Nischala

    Congrats to the entire team. keep growing strong, and best wishes for success as you move forward.

  • Gaby Esther

    Congratulations!!! You have done and continue doing a great job! I really appreciate what you share with and teach me through the articles you send me by e-mail, they are highly valuable. Thank you very much for teaching and spiring 1 Million people around the world!!!

  • http://www.shortstoryguy.com/ Jose Cervantes

    What an amazing story! It’s incredible to see an idea grow from a thought to a product to a business and to a new way of sharing on the internet…amazing! Congratulations and thanks for all that you and the team do all Buffer.

  • http://pnddesign.ca/ Pascal Nguyen Deschênes

    I’m proud of you guys. You deserve it !! Cheers from Montréal !

  • Cesar Contreras

    Congrats, guys! Well deserved.

  • http://jakoszczedzacpieniadze.pl/ Michal Szafranski

    Congratulations! And thanks for staying transparent :) I loved the story. Keep up the good job!

  • Dev

    good for you guys, I remember thinking this is a great service. Forward to today, 1 mil. high …

  • http://doriandargan.com/ Dorian Dargan

    This is an awesome post. Congrats Joel, Leo & team!

  • Jen McGahan

    Congratulations. I’m delighted with your service. I remember when I first signed on, I had a little trouble with something and got an email back from Joel and Leo personally. Very friendly and passionate about their support. I’ve loved Buffer ever since. Thanks and well done. 2M is right around the corner!

  • Larry Lourcey

    What a fantastic story- congrats you guys!

  • http://WWW.EXTRA-CASH-ONLINE.COM/ Robert Connor

    Awesome mile stone all the best!

  • Anca Dumitru

    One word: awesome! Congratulations! Here’s to the next million!

  • http://imeraapp.com/ imera

    Such a cool story. Always good to hear it’s not the easiest ride and to keep persevering.

  • http://presspadapp.com/ Wojciech Szywalski

    Hi Guys! What an amazing and encouraging story. Congrats and Thanks for sharing this with us.

    I am wondering is it coincidence that I am going to give a talk today, in front of several Krakow’s startups, about how we use Buffer in our (PressPadApp) iPad publishing startup.

  • http://inspiretothrive.com/ Lisa Buben

    Congratulations – I just went Awesome and am loving it! Great tool and time saver! Thank you.

  • Bin Teo

    Congrats on hitting 1M user! Thanks for sharing about the Buffer journey, very inspirational! :)

  • Salmaan Sana

    Well done guys! I love what you’ve done with Buffer and how easily it can be used! Looking forward to new and more integrations (such as Google+).
    Kind regards from Amsterdam

  • j_mes

    Congratulations to everyone at Buffer. Buffer is a constant source of inspiration in my business and personal life, so thank you. Keep up the good work.

  • gregpipkin

    Leo, thanks for sharing the story of Buffer and congratulations on the 1MM mark. I am huge fan of Buffer and the blog. I use the service everyday, both personally and for work. Best wishes for the next leg of your journey!

  • Luc

    Buffer story is really great !! From an idea in a student room to a worldwide startup… that’s impressive guys !

  • http://www.crowdstudio.in/ Jaseem TS

    Can’t thank you enough for making this awesome, must-have app that solves a real problem! Proud to be one of your paid users.

    And you Leo – you are becoming a role model for how to market a product :)

  • Sue Martin

    Congrats! What a great story about perseverance.

  • carlosllub

    Nicely done guys! I just became a paid user this month, because it’s really a great tool, on both versions. Keep up that great work!

  • Mayer

    Haha. Didnt realize SF was more expensive than Birmingham UK,

  • Ogunleye Raimi

    Good day to all members of Buffer Community. I am very Happy today with your Community that you welcome me to these Good Community. Thanks

  • Nick Levas

    Congrats on a major well deserved milestone. Your team is “THE BEST”

  • Graeme McRae

    Good going, Buffer! I love the ability to post to Facebook, Twitter, and my G+ page like clockwork every morning at 4:04 am. Also, when I had a question, the tech support was awesome.

  • Jessica Nichols

    I love Buffer! Thank you for sharing this whole story. Any tips on pushing through discouraging times?

  • Angela McCall

    WOW!!!! Congratulations!!! I love you guys. I know that if someday I decide to get the paid version of Buffer, it’ll be you guys and NOT Hootsuite. Buffer is so much easier to use. Keep doing a great job!!!! <3

  • Gary Georges

    Daniel Sharkov said I should check you guys out – guess I should.

  • http://www.prezly.com/ Prezly.com

    Congratulations. Lovely story !

  • http://www.techlisten.com Mahesh Makvana

    Congrats Buffer!

  • Emmanuel Olonade

    Congratulations! This is a truly inspiring story. I love startup stories – many people expect themselves to hit 1 million users right from the get go but as is usually the case, a lasting product takes time.

    All the best in the years ahead!
    Emmanuel

  • http://www.geeknik.com/ geeknik

    I love Buffer! Congratulations on your success thus far! =)

  • http://www.ihelpc.com/ Karen

    Yay for you! I haven’t ventured into using a site to help with my Tweeting yet. So glad I waited. Your success definitely points to Buffer! Karen:)

  • http://sergioredondo.com/ Sergio Redondo

    Nice, Leo! I’m really happy about this new hit from Buffer and his team. You’re doing a great job and I hope to enjoy Buffer for a very long time.
    For me, you’re an example of a great company that is always thinking and taking care of its users.
    I’m sure you are looking for amazing people to join your team, and I’d like to tell you that I’m going to fight in order to join Buffer someday.
    See you in the future.

  • http://iqtell.com/ Team IQTELL

    Congratulations Leo! Is that machtesh ramon I’m looking at at the Israeli picture?

  • John

    Leo,

    Congrats! How did you guys do your marketing during your start up days to create awareness of Buffer?

  • margbubble

    Well I’ve been to Birmingham UK and to San Fran and I see why you chose to start building the business in San Fran but (serious question) why is the UK not a good place to build a tech business like yours? What gets in the way?

  • Nikolay Mancheno

    Congratulations, Buffer team, your app in my iphone5 works very good, I am heppy to use Buffre on my bussines Nature Galapagos

  • Ala’ Hawash

    Congratulations, what a cool story… loved it.

  • tobyjenkins

    Congrats guys! Great milestone!!

  • TravelGenee

    I don’t usually purchase apps or software unless totally necessary however buffer is one that I upgraded to the premium version on the recommendation from Donna at http://sociallysorted.com.au/ It is totally worth moving to the premium version even if you don’t even use social media that much but have a number of work and personal pages to manage and need an easy to use app program to manage these.

  • Ai Ching

    Congratulations Buffer & Team! :)

  • http://farhanrehman.co.uk/ Farhan Rehman

    Congratulations!! What a great accomplishment guys!! Look forward to watching you grow to ever higher heights!! Would love to be able to ‘thread’ or ‘pipe’ social platforms, or different accounts together, so that a post can be published on Facebook, and that facebook status update be tweeted directly, rather than the same message being posted everywhere, with no connection between the updates…

  • http://www.appska.com/ Neeraj Thakur

    This is How you ‘Buffer’ your Success ! Congratulations team Buffer! :)

  • Reviews.co.uk

    Well done BUFFER, you deserve the success.